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71st National Convention. Notes by Mike Black

posted Aug 28, 2016, 3:29 PM by Ken Perry

71st National Convention Report

August 23rd – 26th

Milwaukee, WI

Viper Ride – On August 21st I participated in the first annual Viper Ride. Viper is an acronym for Visually Impaired Veterans Experiencing the Road. It was the idea of John Carter the President of the Wisconsin BVA. Veterans (tailgunners) were paired up with a sighted driver (pilot) and a motorcycle for an 110-mile ride with a police escort to block every intersection. At the half way point (East Troy, WI) we arrived at a celebratory welcome with 2 ladder firetrucks extended with a huge American flag draped and surrounded by applause. We were served a delicious lunch by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts while being entertained by live country music. At the conclusion of the ride, we returned to the Milwaukee VA grounds and were presented with a gift bag.

I attended educational/presentation sessions covering Windows 10, Medical Marijuana, Eye Research, Dr. David J. Schulkins (Under Secretary for Health for the US Dept. of Veteran Affairs).

During the Opening Session, we heard speeches from several representatives of local, state and federal government, including Robert McDonald the National Director of the VA.

Opening Business Meeting

  • Report from the Rules Committee

  • Report from the Credentials Committee

  • Roll Call

  • Approval of the 70th Annual Convention Minutes

  • CFO Report by Cathy Ruis – Still experiencing a 1.2  million deficit

  • Approval of financial report

  • Necrology report by Stuart Nelson, 156 this year.

  • Bylaws and Resolutions submission

  • Nominations for National Officers

  1. President – Dale Stamper

  2. VP – Joe Parker

  3. Secretary – Paul Mimms

  4. Treasurer – Joe McNeil

  • Close of the opening business meeting.

Bylaws and Resolutions


  1. Balanced budget, failed, received 20.3% in favor of.

  2. Board to select convention locale.  Passed.

  3. Technical correction to amend 2/3 to 2/3 rather than 2/3 vs majority. Passed.

  4. Technical correction requiring “good standing” for directors paying annually. Passed.

  5. Reduction of life membership fees to $20 for one year and automatically expires. Passed.


  1. 16 previously approved resolutions were carried as a block.

  2. A resolution was passed to recommend that TSA address the impediment that exists between the curb and the ticket counter. This is addressed to the airport, not the airlines. Passed.

  3. ROES – remote order entry system. This is software to streamline orders that are generally for items of $3500 or less.  This is for prosthetics orders. Passed.

  4. U.N. Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works to visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities. This allows for copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for visually impaired persons. This resolution is to urge the U.S. Senate to adopt. Passed.

  5. Automobile grant increase should recur every ten years rather than one time because items wear out over time. Passed

  6. Increase convention registration fees from $100 to $120 due to increased cost of putting on the convention. Passed.

No unfinished business.

New business – A motion was made to name Lindsey Ruis as the convention sweetheart for her assistance at the convention.  Passed.

Convention Report – Christina Hitchcock

  • 123 members registered

  • 59 + 2 guests

  • 10 BVA personnel

  • 58 companies

  • 14 new exhibitors

  • 3 bids have been received so far for next year’s convention: Denver, Phoenix, and Albuquerque. There are more possibilities to come through negotiations.

Election of Officers


  • President: Dale Stamper

  • VP: Joe Parker

  • Secretary: Paul Mimms

  • Treasurer: Joe McNeil

All offices uncontested and re-elected.

Discharge of committees

Awards banquet held on Friday evening.

I would like to thank our membership for allowing me this opportunity to represent the Kentuckiana Regional Group of Blinded Veterans. It was an honor that I don’t take lightly.